Three Minutes with Christopher Nolan

The director of The Dark Knight Rises on the future of the franchise, the power of IMAX, and how little of the preview footage in front of MI:4 is CGI.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Christopher Nolan introduced the prologue to The Dark Knight Rises, which will show in Imax screenings of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol starting December 16. He really believes Imax is “to this day far and away the best imaging format” so he wants audiences to know why it’s worth seeking out Imax showings of the film in July. That begins now, so people have time to plan their Imax outing in cities where Imax screens may be rarer.

The cineaste in Nolan also compared Imax showings of The Dark Knight Rises to the old road show engagements of classic movies. He wants modern audiences to get a feeling of the grandeur of cinema, at which he believes is being slowly chipped away. So this sequence will give audiences, who may not have seen The Dark Knight in Imax, a sense of what the whole film will be. And it’s all he has finished. “I’ve barely started to edit the rest of the film,” Nolan revealed.

After the screening, Nolan did a meet and greet. He answered our question about whether he would produce subsequent Batman movies even though Rises is his last as director. “That would depend purely on the circumstance,” Nolan said. “I think the important thing really for me is as a director and as a writer and so forth, this is the conclusion of my involvement with it.”

Just mounting a third Batman film was quite a challenge after the monumental precedents set by Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Nolan revealed his secret for keeping the story of Rises riveting.

“I think really once we figured out our ending, then it felt like okay, we know where this story is going and where we have to land the plane if you like. That’s always very important in any project, with all my projects. I really try to figure out the end first and work up from there.”

There will be plenty of action spectacle, as we see in the opening prologue. Nolan answered my speculation as to whether it was a practical stunt or a visual effect. “There’s more real than not in what you saw definitely, and a lot of very talented, very daring people did some pretty incredible things to make it happen. So I’m very grateful to them.”

The footage will also answer many fans’ questions about Tom Hardy as Bane. We’ve seen pictures, but now Hardy’s acting will speak for itself. “Well, Tom I’d worked with on Inception. He’s just an incredible talent. Taking on a character who wears a mask, you’re very limited as to how you’re going to be able to be able to express him. I decided we needed someone like Tom who could put character and characterization to every movement, every little gesture and so forth.”

The Dark Knight Rises prologue is attached to Imax prints of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol opening December 16.